For Amal, on her 35th Birthday

it started with honey

when suddenly–
everything was honey! dripped
golden, licked sweet
everywhere were
tongues, everywhere
bees buzzing, perpetual
your lips pollen-
kissed, your dimple gold-
dusted, and even your clothes
honeycombed, stitched
with stingers

but that was then, in the

next came the owls

owls: with faces of
flowers, owls:
speaking in the tongues of suns and
moons, owls:
in their strega forms, hurtling
with the silent impact of

all we spoke of were owls
spoke in whispers
whispered your name

there were diamond oceans, too
as you plumbed the depths of Neptune
gems of dream then, gems of
philosophers and cinnamon
sticks, tricks with
time, tricky women
wizard nations
whirling in thunderheads of birds

now (even now), the red shift and the
belong to you
cardinal and titmouse, poppy and iris
fire opal, Eagle nebula
all reorder themselves
according to your fountain’s

this is how you bend the light,
my beauty,
this is how you stride the sky

every year, a new virus of
every year, ascension
rocket propulsion
startled arms outflung in hurtling spirals
more and more of what you love
you, who only grow in tenderness
your dark eyes
ever steady in their ready beam
like they were back your cradle years
before I knew you


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3 responses to “For Amal, on her 35th Birthday

  1. Oussama El-Mohtar

    Claire, first, a belated Happy Birthday. This is achingly beautiful. We were talking about you today, and we all agree that it is time to see you all on this side of the border. Miss you.

    • csecooney

      Mama is visiting, and we LONG to visit YOU. Le sigh. Not this trip. But soon, I hope. MORE, in the roaring ’20s. I’ll make a point of it. Ottawa in the spring.

  2. Beautiful and vivid description!
    Happy belated birthday for both of you!
    God bless your friendship! 😵😵👍👍👏👏👏👏👍❤️

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